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National MP Mark Mitchell says calls for gang members not to vote for the party validates they are on the right track

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National MP Mark Mitchell said gangs are rallying against them because they don’t like their policies. Photo / File

National’s police spokesman Mark Mitchell says communication circulating online calling for gang members not to vote for the National Party will only help their election campaign.

A Head Hunters gang member recently shared an advertisement from National – which details how the party would crack down on gangs if elected into Government – on social media, with the member writing that anyone who supported them should unfriend them.

“If you vote or you are considering voting for these f******* please remove yourself from my friends list,” they wrote, signing off with a smiley face.

Mitchell believed their policies were aggravating the gangs.

“They don’t like the policies; the policy settings are tough and so they are rallying against them because they don’t want us to come in as Government. They know we’ll be much tougher than the current government,” he said.

National’s policies had a focus on more police backing and tackling gang crime by introducing laws that allowed police to disperse large gang related gatherings, non-consorting laws and a ban of gang insignia and patches.

A Head Hunters gang member recently shared this on social media. Photo / Supplied
A Head Hunters gang member recently shared this on social media. Photo / Supplied

Mitchell was confident that the message circulating around gangs not to vote for the party indicates they are on the right track.

“I think it’ll help our election campaign, and I think it completely validates the fact that our policies are upsetting and aggravating the very people we want to start to crack down on, it tells us that we’re heading in the right direction.”

This comes after a video of Mongrel Mob member Harry Tam urging other members not to vote for National re-surfaced last year.
At the time, Tukituki Labour MP Anna Lorck rejected the claim of gang members campaigning for Labour.

National MP Louise Upston also said: “It is certainly not a good look for the Prime Minister and Labour to have gangs expressing that they know they’ll get a much easier ride under their Government. There is a reason why gang members don’t vote National.”

Mitchell said that more and more communities now feel as though gangs controlled the streets, rather than the police who were under-resourced.

“I think there is a general feeling that people don’t feel safe in their homes and they feel like gangs, youth gangs and adult gangs, are operating with impunity with very little respect for the police or the public.”

He said the Labour Government have been too slow to respond and take action towards rising criminal offending, noting the gang attack on the Waikato Expressway, the 23 drive-by shootings that riddled Auckland earlier this year and the sentencing this week of Mongrel Mob member Belmont Sonny Freedom Eruiti Te Aonui-Tawhi for murdering Outlaws motorcycle club boss Peter Lui.

“A lot of these serious issues are baked in and they are going to be quite hard to turn around,” he said.

Statistics provided to the Herald from the National Party indicates that on average gang membership has increased by 47 per cent since 2017, and by 41 every month.

Police recruitment was growing, on average, by nearly less than half that figure at just 24 per month.

“Labour have been soft on crime since they came into Government and it’s their policy settings that in large part have contributed, or have been the aggravating factor, to the situation we find ourselves now [in] as a country.”

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